“Perhaps fearing the rapid, recent growth of T-Mobile, AT&T has unveiled a new plan that could lead to the carrier selling fewer of Apple’s iPhones,” Sam Mattera writes for The Motley Fool. “Starting next week, AT&T subscribers will have the option of signing up for the ‘Mobile Share Value Plan’ — a plan that would separate the cost of their smartphone from the cost of their service. Subscribers who pay for their phone up front, activate an old phone they already own, or pay for their phone in monthly installments, will receive a discount on their monthly bill.”

“Among subscribers that opt for this plan, cheaper handsets powered by Google’s Android could become far more attractive,” Mattera writes. “AT&T subscribers who switch might be enticed to pick up a less expensive Android phone rather than a more expensive iPhone.”

MacDailyNews Take: If they do, they’re not the type of quality customers that Apple wants anyway.

“It’s overwhelming clear that Apple depends on carrier subsidies for its iPhone sales. In emerging markets, where most carriers don’t subsidize phones, Google’s Android dominates. Where phone subsidies are relatively generous (like in the U.S. or Japan), Apple accounts for a large portion of the market,” Mattera writes. “That’s why this trend toward reduced carrier subsidies should be worrying for Apple. Despite T-Mobile’s recent growth, it remains one of the nation’s smallest carriers — but AT&T is the second largest. AT&T isn’t abolishing subsidies entirely, but its new plan gives subscribers the option of forgoing subsidies in favor of reduced monthly bills.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: AT&T isn’t abolishing subsidies. Therefore the answer to Mattera’s headline question is “no.”

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AT&T’s new pricing plans: Who saves and who doesn’t – December 6, 2013